Friday, July 19, 2013

Airport thoughts

As I sit here at a coffee shop in the Taipei airport, waiting to embark on the third leg of my 30 hour plane journey, a journey ending in Jakarta,  a mix of thoughts are swirling through my mind. For one, I am a foreigner; unaware of their language, customs, or religions, I sit alone in the cafe watching the interactions of the people. I have always found places of transit - airports, train stations, bus terminals - to be incredibly romantic. There is something beautiful in the loneliness of these places, especially in the dark hours of the night. Within the walls of the airport, the lives of people from all different walks of life intersect, if only for a short period of time. Although they cross paths briefly, they have been brought there for different purposes: some are traveling for business, others for pleasure, and some even for love. People are waiting anxiously to be reunited with loved ones, others are leaving home, and some lonely travelers, like me, are traveling for the sole purpose of getting lost. Surrounded by a chaotic mixture of words that I do not understand, I am a foreigner. This feeling of being a foreigner in an unknown land, waking up in a country where not a single person knows your name, is freedom to me. Freedom to let go of all the labels that identify us back home - a sister, a daughter, a girlfriend, a student - here across the world without any deadlines or friends, I am just me. That is one of my favourite things about traveling alone; when you let go of all your usual identifications, you learn to define yourself in an entire new way. You learn things about yourself that the comforts of home can never teach you. You learn to rely on other things than language to get around - you learn how to speak the language of the world. 

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